January 2, 2004
Boundaries of Knowledge
Liberty, War & Politics
Values & Human Life
Boundaries of Knowledge
Bigfoot Myth Still Undisspelled
Eric Bailey, Arizona Republic/L.A. Times, www.farshores.filetap.com, April 18, 2003
"WILLOW CREEK, Calif. - Here on the doorstep of the Pacific Northwest, trees grow tall and mystery runs deep. For generations, the dark gorges have yielded lumber, and a legend.
"...Hodgson, who ran Willow Creek's general store for decades, once counted himself among the doubters. But then two trusted friends confessed to frightening forest encounters with a huge bipedal ape."
Comprehensive Paranormal Site:
FarShores Worldwide Anomaly Reporting
White Powder Gold
Whitley Strieber Interview with Laurence Gardner, unknowncountry.com, December 27th, 2003
Dreamland archive temporarily available
Absolutely fascinating interview with Laurence Gardner on his new book, Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark. They discuss Moses and Mount Horeb/Sinai, and an ancient Egyptian temple with mysterious powder found in 1904.
The powder is supposed to be a monatomic substance that can be made from metals other than gold and is also identified with star dust. They discuss how it is made today.
Interview includes all sorts of speculation and accounts of scientific investigations into what it might be used for - from medical uses and heightened awareness to super-conductive, anti-gravitational and interdimensional effects.
Laurence Gardner mentions evidence of ancient electro-plating technology. There are implications about the nature of ancient religious practices along with the idea that the Ark of the Covenant was a capacitor.
I hope to read his book and look into this further, because part of the story appears to be grounded in fact. But how can one substance have so many properties? And if it's monatomic, why do chemical tests show more than one substance such as feldspar? These are some of the questions I have.
On the other hand the scripture about Moses making the Israelites eat gold was always a mystery to me, and this theory seems to explain it. If he is correct, then this substance would be the Philosopher's Stone.
Laurence Gardner's website: graal.co.uk
Chronicles of the Holy Grail
Researcher reports more sightings
Airdrie residents continue to see strange sights in the sky
Paul Wells, Airdrie Echo, airdrieecho.com, December 24, 2003
"...Brian Vike, one of Canada’s most experienced UFO sighting investigators, said the most recent reports of unusual activity in Airdrie [Alberta] and area have come from both humans and, vicariously, via humans through their canine companions..."
Dec 13, 2003: "bright tunnel of light"
Sept. 14, 2003: "five rows of lights"
Sept. 15, 2003: "big circle of lights twirling around and hovering above the (Highway 2) walkway"
Sept. 15, 2003: "[dog] paced back and forth and even jumped up on top of a dresser. The pet would not settle down"
Maui: Haleakala Crater UFO
"Maui Guy", coasttocoastam.com
Story of alleged ufo sighting in 2002. The images are interesting.
"... a curtain or sheet of light drop down about 50-100 feet away from us from right out of the sky. It appeared to be made up of tiny particles of fireflies or dust that was lit up..."
Closed-circuit cameras detect possible ghostly presence
CP Oddities News, mytelus.com, December 19, 2003
"Closed-circuit security cameras at Hampton Court Palace, the huge Tudor pile outside London, seem to have snagged an ethereal visitor...
"A supposed figure stands in a doorway at Hampton Court Palace in southwest London in this image caught on closed circuit television."
Hampton Court spokeswoman claims photo was not manufactured and they don't know what it is.
Hampton Court Palace: http://www.hrp.org.uk/webcode/content.asp?id=330
FAQ on Cult Apologists
Tilman Hausherr, http://home.snafu.de/tilman/
Very informative page, and it brings up many sensitive issues for consideration. I really appreciate the author's point of view in general. However, there are some less central topics where I feel the need to express another point of view, especially about government legislation (interference) and also about the treatment of the Branch Davidians.
I also have some questions about a couple of groups mentioned who I didn't consider as cults, so I will probably have to read more about these.
One section that may be very helpful for an introduction to cults is "Marks of a Destructive Cult" towards the bottom of the page. Here is a summary of the points to look for:
"Mind Control (undue influence)..."
"Charismatic Leadership: Claiming divinity or special knowledge and
demanding unquestioning obedience with power and privilege..."
Note: This was a definite Worldwide Church of God (old-style) characteristic and I can recognize WCG in all of the other points too to one degree or another.
"Deception: Recruiting and fundraising with hidden objectives and without
full disclosure of the use of mind controlling techniques; use of front
"Exclusivity: Secretiveness or vagueness by followers regarding
activities and beliefs."
"Alienation: Separation from family, friends and society, ..."
"Exploitation: Can be financial, physical, or psychological; pressure to
"Totalitarian Worldview (we/they syndrome): Effecting dependence,
promoting goals of the group over the individual... "
Tilman Hausherr's home page:
Includes more info on cults. For example, more FAQ's
Cults: a.k.a New Religious Movements
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Home Page: www.religioustolerance.org
"The main faith groups which have been unjustly targeted by the ACM, CCM and oppressive governments are listed below..."
I think this site is of very high quality and is a valuable resource for information. I agree with them about oppressive governments and religious freedom.
However, it seems to me they fall into the category of "cult apologists". This is an example of a website that defends cults. As a former cult member, I decide myself what beliefs and practices are justly targeted for my criticism - case by case.
Note: "ACM" stands for anti-cult movement and "CCM" stands for counter-cult movement. "NRM" stands for new religious movement.
Allegations of "brainwashing" within religious "cults"
Here they include some useful information on cult practices which is worth reading, and there are other links on this page that would be interesting to research further. The page adds up to a denial of the existence of mind-control and brain-washing by these cults.
They argue their case in one way by trying to assert that the concept of "mind-control" refers to something absolute like an advanced technological technique - as if this is the "mind-control" cult critics are talking about. Since such technologies would (hopefully) be unrealistically criminal for most cults to use (see reference to government experiments), they can knock down their straw man easily.
But of course that's not the issue - at least in my experience, and I didn't encounter anything like hypnosis either and who knows how common that is? Even in the article you can see the reference to what cult critics do talk about: "only more intensely applied mundane tactics of social influence".
There is nothing special about saying that certain groups use "mind control" or "brainwashing" or undue influence. This is just an everyday part of human experience, where those who seek control over others use abuse or lies or repetition and intensive involvement in activities to weaken them.
In the same way that our minds fall prey to addictions, many of us fall prey to tyrants in one sense or the other. And in my experience I'm not even referring to what I would consider coercion or criminal behavior. However, I have heard many stories of cults in which the line was crossed.
People need the information in order to be able to decide what is unhealthy for their lives and they need to be encouraged to leave harmful groups by their loved ones. People do have problems thinking clearly and they do have trouble making the right decisions to protect themselves.
Any "technique" - from brow-beating to threats of hell, food or sleep deprivation - that works against clear thinking can be unhealthy. Also, if the teachings and practices of certain gurus and ministers are objectively harmful to an individual's life, then their loved ones need to speak up (there are better and worse ways of expressing disagreement). In other words, they need to "interfere" ethically with words - while respecting the member's free will.
In extreme cases, especially where the family has lost contact with the member and they are concerned for his safety and well-being, I think families should do whatever they think they need to do. Professional advice is available from cult counselors like Steven Hassan.
Religion vs. Independence. Quote from: The History of the Devil (page 471):
"To the lovers of freedom the feeling of dependence is a curse, and Sasha Schneider has well pictured it as a terrible monster whose prey are the weak--those whose religion is absolute submissiveness.
"Truly if we cannot have a religion which makes us free and independent, let us discard religion! Religion must be in accord not only with morality but also with philosophy; not only with justice, but also with science; not only with order, but also with freedom."
History of the Devil
Idea of Evil
from the Earliest Times to the Present Day
by Paul Carus , found at: sacred-texts.com
Comments on Individualism, Cults and Society
In my view, individualism is about respecting others and acknowledging they have rights. It is about respecting the will of others and leaving them alone most of the time, minding your own business most of the time, offering some help when it is needed.
An individualist does not impose his own will on others by force in order to "correct" their alleged "mistakes" or their "medieval" culture or their possibly "incorrect" beliefs and words. An individualist expresses himself freely - in agreement or disagreement - and lets others do the same. He would never dream of force-feeding whole societies by ignorantly dropping empty value-neutral materialism on their heads as if it were something beneficial. In fact, he would acknowledge its problems, and find something better for himself and his family.
A person who believes in individualism never wants to absorb the personalities of others into his own or to let his own personality be absorbed by cult leaders. Rather, an individualist encourages others to be as independent-minded and as strong as possible, while accepting that human beings by nature must endure their own choices in addition to their limitations and weaknesses. He does his/her best to make the world a little more pleasant but accepts it will always remain imperfect like himself. He leaves his hands off what does not belong to him.
Liberty, War & Politics
Kantians With Cruise Missiles: The Highest Stage of 'Liberal' Imperialism
Joseph Stromberg, Antiwar.com, December 23, 2003
"The doctrine of pre-emptive wars fought in the name of future peaceful conditions, conditions obtaining, once the Good have sufficiently bombed the Bad, manages to substitute the question of who is Good and who is Bad for the old-fashioned question of war and peace."
Interview with Noam Chomsky Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance
Guerrilla News Network, guerrillanews.com
On Democracy: Voting for Jefferson Davis
Chris Dominguez, LewRockwell.com, December 21, 2003
...as Albert J. Nock wrote, "It occurred to me then, how little important it is to destroy a government, in comparison with destroying the prestige of government." [A Journal of These Days, 1934]
"Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead……Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.”
Weekly Standard National Greatness?
American Conservative Union Foundation, acuf.org
The WS [Weekly Standard]forthrightly informs its readers that George W. Bush is a "big spender," subheading a recent piece informing its readers that, "under Bush, the era of small government is over."
2003's Biggest Story
Tibor R. Machan, lewrockwell.com, December 27, 2003
"Since, however, only when a country's citizens are attacked – or are demonstrably about to be attacked – is it justified to go to war, it is clear that what President George W. Bush decided to do was wrong. Moreover, he and his staff clearly realized this, since they so eagerly advanced plausible enough reasons for their actions, reasons that had only one major flaw – they were mistaken or cooked up..."
Great point also about legitimate ways for individuals to help nations living under dictatorship. But I disagree that the mere presence of WMD's would justify war.
May I See Your Papers Please?
Rick Gee, anti-state.com, August 17, 2001
"Such checkpoints have no place in a free society. And what is the compelling State interest in making sure that randomly detained drivers have their license and registration in their possession?"
Parting company is an option
Walter E. Williams, townhall.com, December 24, 2003
"Professor Thomas DiLorenzo, in his revised The Real Lincoln, provides abundant evidence in the forms of quotations from our Founders and numerous newspaper accounts that prove that Americans always took the right of secession for granted."
J. Edgar Hoover Back at the 'New' FBI
Classified FBI Bulletin Reveals Tactics at Protests
Nat Hentoff, villagevoice.com, December 4, 2003
"Analyzing this classified confidential FBI memorandum, FBI Intelligence Bulletin no. 89, (of which I too have a copy), the October 15, 2003, Times quotes ACLU executive director Anthony Romero: "This bulletin confirms that the federal government is targeting innocent Americans engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent. . . ""
Bethlehem's Economic Lessons
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., LewRockwell.com, December 22, 2001
Contrasting the innkeeper's actions to disruptive Roman taxation.
"Such is the fate of the merchant throughout all history: doing well, doing good, and forgotten for his service to humanity."
Is Peace on Earth Too Boring?
David Gordon, Mises.org, December 25, 2003
Review of books by Chris Hedges: War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and What Every Person Should Know About War
"During World War I, for example, the British public turned on the once-popular reformer E. D. Morel, famed for his exposure of atrocities in the Belgian Congo. Morel's exposure of British propaganda and secret treaties drew this response: "His fight against the war saw mobs break up his meetings with stink bombs and his banners ripped down. He finally could not rent a hall. . . . He was flooded with hate mail. The government finally jailed him in 1917"(Meaning, p. 147)."
"... He accepts without argument that meaning in life depends on experiencing extreme sensations [i.e. war]. Why believe this? Why not instead try to find meaning in the ordinary business of life?"
***How The Ridge Stole Christmas!***
Butler Shaffer, LewRockwell.com, December 24, 2003
"We live in an institutionalized world that requires the submission of individuals to organizational purposes. Systems that seek to control the behavior of people must invariably resort to fear as a way of overcoming individual resistance."
1914 Christmas truce 'planned by thousands of German soldiers'
Tony Paterson, news.independent.co.uk, December 24, 2003
"The interpretation of the events on the Western Front on Christmas Eve 1914 is made by Michael Jürgs whose book, The Small Peace in the Great War is the first to be written about the ceasefire from a German perspective."
Judicial Blows against Military Tyranny
Jacob G. Hornberger, fff.org, December 19, 2003
"The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered military officials either to release accused terrorist Jose Padilla, whom the Pentagon has held in a military brig incommunicado for some 18 months, or to turn him over to U.S. civil officials for criminal charges. In a separate ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Pentagon’s base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is subject to the constraints of the U.S. Constitution."
Coffee, Tea or Handcuffs?
An Australian journalist gets a taste of Department of Homeland Security hospitality
Steven Mikulan LA Weekly Writer, news.yahoo.com, December 19, 2003
"Smethurst says U.S. ambassador Tom Schaeffer privately apologized to her for her treatment..."
Values & Human Life
The Culture of Death
Who Will Decide When You Should Die?
Nat Hentoff, villagevoice.com, December 1, 2003
[Nancy Valko:] "[in the past]...certain actions such as withdrawing medically assisted food and water from a severely brain-damaged but non-dying person were considered illegitimate no matter who was making the decision."
It's Not Only About Terri Schiavo
Barriers to Killing Come Down
Nat Hentoff, villagevoice.com, November 21, 2003
"In an article in the July 14, 1949, New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Alexander warned that the Nazis' crimes against humanity had "started from small beginnings . . . merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived.""
Discusses eugenics movement.
British Govt. Supports Euthanasia of Mentally Handicapped
Paul Nowak, LifeNews.com, November 17, 2003
About Mental Incapacity bill
"Because the legislation defines medical 'treatment' as "includ[ing] a diagnostic or other procedure," decisions including tube-feeding, giving sedatives or pain-killers, and possibly spoon-feeding and turning immobile bed-bound patients, could be up to a government-appointed guardian, prior suicidal decisions by the patient, or anyone with "lasting powers of attorney.""
SPUC's campaign against draft Mental Incapacity Bill (MIB)
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (U.K.), spuc.org.uk
"The government pretends to oppose euthanasia but is pushing ahead with a bill to legalise it. The bill offers you a living will which others could exploit to condemn you to a living death by dehydration, starvation and neglect..."
"SPUC supporters will be lobbying against euthanasia at the Westminster Parliament on 27 and 28 April 2004..."
Was Terri Schiavo Beaten in 1990?
Will There Be an Investigation in Time?
Nat Hentoff, villagevoice.com, November 14, 2003
A Woman's Life Versus an Inept Press
The ACLU Supports a 'Constitutional' Death by Starvation
Nat Hentoff, villagevoice.com, November 6, 2003
"Terri is responsive, beyond mere reflexes. Having this degree of sentience, if she is starved to death, she will not "die in peace" as The New York Times predicts in an uninformed October 23 editorial supporting the husband. What happens to someone who can feel pain during the process of starvation is ghastly."
British Lawsuit Targets Late-Term Abortion for Cleft Palate
Paul Nowak, LifeNews.com, November 19, 2003
"...Under British law, an abortion cannot be preformed after the 24th week unless there is risk of a serious handicap. As cleft palate is routinely corrected by surgery and Rev. Joanna Jepson argues that the police should have enforced the law and prosecuted the abortion practitioner..."
"The News Source for the Pro-Life Community". Plenty of information here.
Killing Freud: 20th-century culture and the death of psychoanalysis by Todd Dufresne
Disastrous victory of a 20th-century shaman
Justin Wintle, independent.co.uk, December 16, 2003
"Dufresne suggests that the upshot of Freud's moribund triumph has been, intellectually, little short of catastrophic. Psychoanalysis subverts the essence of western rationality, substituting a bastard discourse for the fact-honouring conventions of dialogue that, intermittently, have served civilisation well since Socrates."
Comment: This is a criticism of one type of therapy that has nothing to do with other psychiatric therapies (involving talk or medication) that can be very helpful and necessary for the mentally ill.
Morality and Liberty
The Confused Morals of Left-Libertarians
Steven Greenhut, LewRockwell.com, November 22, 2003
"Dynamism is necessary in a free market, but not every change is for the good. Government shouldn't try to stop change, but free people in a free society need to use non-governmental pressures to uphold valuable beliefs and traditions."